As workers in Canada, we have rights. In fact, we have so many rights that it can take a while – and some help – to find out what they are. When we know our rights, we are more capable of protecting ourselves and our jobs. Knowledge is power – but only when we come together and exercise our power can we achieve the respect and dignity we deserve.

Workers rights in Canada are entrenched in a collection of national and provincial laws.

Your Rights under Canadian Law

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms Article 2 Section d establishes the freedom to associate as a fundamental Canadian right: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/const_en.html#libertes

In other words, Canada’s highest court has twice ruled that the Charter ensures that workers have the right to join a workers organization and take action to protect their rights and improve their working conditions.

Your Rights under Provincial Law

Employment Standards Act (ESA): sets minimum workplace standards, like the minimum wage. Bosses who ignore the ESA face Ministry of Labour charges, which can include heavy fines and/or jail time.

Occupational Health and Safety Act: protects workers against health and safety hazards on the job.

Human Rights Code: also known as the “Code”, it makes sure everybody has equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in specific areas such as jobs, housing and services. The Code’s goal is to prevent discrimination and harassment.

Labour Relations Act: details the rights of workers to engage in collective action, like joining a workers organization and negotiating improvements in their working conditions.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act: establishes a workplace insurance system that makes sure injured workers are not left behind and that employers and employees co-operate on accident and disease prevention.

If you and your coworkers have any questions about your rights under the law, please know that you can always contact us with the full confidence of confidentiality

This website is operated and maintained by UFCW Canada. This is not a Sobeys website, but may feature Sobeys workers, and workers from associated banners like FreshCo, Price Chopper, IGA, and Thrify Foods who have all volunteered to tell their stories and share their opinions.

UFCW Canada is a not-for-profit worker organization dedicated to social justice and creating better living standards for its membership and all working families.